Every corner of the West Midlands features on a “league table of despair” which shows that even the wealthiest parts of the conurbation have upwards from 1 in 4 working age people dependent on government support for their income.

Well over 1 in 3 people of working age in the West Midlands metro-area were furloughed, received self-employed income support, or were jobless during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, according to figures commissioned from the House of Commons Library and revealed by Hodge Hill MP, Liam Byrne today. “Without urgent action, thousands more West Midlanders will be unemployed long term,” he said.

“The government’s own figures show the scale of the crisis hitting virtually every family in the region. Out of a working age population (16-64) of 3,651,170, some 1,295,305, were having to rely on furlough, self-employed support claims or were claiming unemployment benefit. That is a staggering 35% of the county’s working population.

Liam Byrne has demanded that the government’s comprehensive spending review should make the West Midlands’ economy a top priority in future plans.

“We clearly need urgent action to prevent further job losses. The West Midlands needs a fair share of government investment, a plan to deliver the right to work and train to our young people, and a determination to keep the pound local by ensuring public bodies buy British.

“Broken down constituency by constituency, we have a league table of despair. No neighbourhood is untouched. Many families will continue to see their incomes reduced even more in coming months’, said Liam Byrne.

He warns that the crisis is getting worse, not better, and that in some communities more than half of the population will soon be underemployed or entirely jobless.

Liam Byrne’s research shows that the crisis in employment extends well beyond the usual inner urban jobless “hot spots” such as Birmingham Yardley and Wolverhampton South East where over 40% need employment support.

Even people in normally affluent areas such as Meriden (39%), Stourbridge (37%), Wolverhampton South West (34%), Sutton Coldfield (34%), Solihull (33%) were affected.

“Who would ever had imagined that 1 in 3 of the population of towns such as Sutton, Stourbridge, and Solihull would have so many people dependent on the government for support” asked Liam Byrne.

“Coventry South with 1 in 4 receiving support comes off best, but even that shows how quickly we have to get the economy moving again.

“These are the latest figures available from July and August”, explained Liam Byrne, “they represent claims, and a handful of people may have made more than one claim on different schemes, but nevertheless they present a worrying picture.

Table broken down constituency by constituency across the West Midlands Combined Authority area:

Total furloughed, SEISS or unemployed Resident population aged 16-64 % of local residents
West Midlands CA                  1,295,305          3,651,170                                 35%
Birmingham, Yardley                    29,600                70,040                                  42%
Birmingham, Erdington                 27,645                66,159                                  42%
Birmingham, Hodge Hill                31,965                78,502                                  41%
Wolverhampton South East          23,190                57,992                                  40%
Birmingham, Perry Barr                28,500                 72,414                                  39%
Meriden                                         26,225                 66,983                                 39%
Warley                                           23,935                 62,033                                 39%
Dudley South                                18,780                 48,802                                  38%
Walsall North                                23,455                 61,113                                   38%
West Bromwich West                   23,110                  60,582                                  38%
Dudley North                                19,800                  52,077                                  38%
West Bromwich East                    21,725                  57,889                                  38%
Stourbridge                                  20,360                  54,460                                   37%
Aldridge-Brownhills                       17,115                  45,825                                  37%
Birmingham, Northfield                 23,400                  63,068                                  37%
Halesowen and Rowley Regis      20,070                  54,123                                  37%
Wolverhampton North East          21,085                  57,044                                   37%
Walsall South                               23,850                  65,296                                  37%
Birmingham, Hall Green               28,070                 77,039                                   36%
Birmingham, Ladywood                36,840               105,027                                  35%
Wolverhampton South West         19,155                 55,622                                   34%
Sutton Coldfield                            19,125                 55,633                                   34%
Coventry North East                      28,080                82,434                                   34%
Solihull                                           20,280                60,696                                   33%
Coventry North West                     24,470                73,246                                    33%
Birmingham, Edgbaston                20,720                70,787                                    29%
Birmingham, Selly Oak                  21,460                 74,946                                   29%
Coventry South                              21,295                 89,547                                   24%
Sources: HMRC Job Retention Scheme statistics: August 2020 HMRC Self-Employment Income Support Scheme statistics: September 2020 ONS Claimant Count, via Nomis ONS Claimant Count denominators, via Nomis